Automated Communication Analysis for Interactive Situation Awareness Assessment
SBIR FY04.1 Topic N04-119
Department of Defense (DOD)/Navy - Office of Naval Research (ONR)

The entire solicitation may be viewed at

N04-119 TITLE: Automated Communication Analysis for Interactive Situation Awareness Assessment


ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMW 157 Global Command and Control Support System - Maritime (GCCS-M)

OBJECTIVE: Validate and demonstrate the application of automated communication data analysis techniques to the real time assessment of team situational awareness and team performance in tactical decision-making or intelligence analysis.

DESCRIPTION: National Defense Transformation from platform-based warfare to quick-response asymmetric warfare has driven the requirement for fully-netted situational awareness in future operations described as unique, one-of-a-kind actions requiring quick response on high impact issues. Operations will be distributed, have quickly changing participants, uncertain data/intelligence and more automated and agent-based interfaces. Some examples of capabilities required to respond to this new environment include:

Quick development of shared understanding among participants
Quick analysis of uncertain and open source data
Human friendly and cognitive process leveraging agents
Collaboration facilitating tools with performance metrics

Team shared understanding is central to many tasks faced by the military in which multiple operators who are separated by space and time interact to make time-critical decisions in a complex data-uncertain environment. Communication provides a data set that can quantify team cognition and the collaborative thought that underlies team performance. New discourse analysis techniques have been developed that can be used to analyze the patterns and content of communication data for understanding how teams visualize and fuse information into a shared understanding. These techniques include communication sequential flow analysis and Latent Semantic Analysis. Correlations between the resulting communication patterns and other team-level measures can be exploited to measure team performance, team cognition and team situational awareness. The results of these findings will have implications for the design of tools for knowledge visualization and management of team collaboration networks. They may be used to exploit communication data for on-line real-time performance assessment and diagnosis in a host of applied settings including the assessment of teams in combat information centers air-defense systems, and remote battlefield command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I) centers.

PHASE I: Identify, assess and validate existing communication data analysis tools (such as sequential analysis, flow techniques, Latent Semantic Analysis, etc) that quantify the content and patterns of information flow in team collaborative activity. Show that these tools can link communication content and flow patterns to team situational awareness and team performance. Incorporate these tools into a computational model or automated agent to enable the collection of real-time data to measure and improve team situational awareness.

PHASE II: Develop a prototype, based on empirically validated techniques and evaluate in a simulated or representative operational environment. Provide metrics and measures to assure the extensibility of the prototype to other operational venues.

PHASE III: Validate, standardize and document underlying software for application purposes and implement in a field experiment. Coordinate with user subject matter experts to instantiate a working model with actual data, get user commitment for training and maintenance of the application. Collect performance data to validate improved performance. The proposed communication analysis tools could be applied in command and control activities, intelligence analysis and corporate level business strategy development.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL: This technology product could be applied to any collaborative or team problem solving situation where it is necessary to develop a team consensus on an issue or product.

1. Kiekel, P. A., Cooke, N. J., Foltz, P. W., & Shope, S. M. (2001). Automating measurement of team cognition through analysis of communication data. In Usability Evaluation and Interface Design, pp. 1, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

2. Foltz, P. W. (2002) Quantitative cognitive models of Text and Discourse Processing. In The Handbook of Discourse Processes. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishing.

3. Cannon-Bowers, J. A., & Salas, E. (1998). Making Decisions Under Stress: Implications for Individual and Team Training. Washington, D. C.: American Psychological Association.

KEYWORDS: Communication, analysis, situational awareness, problem solving

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December 1, 2003: DoD begins accepting proposals
January 15, 2004: Deadline for receipt of proposals by 6:00 a.m. EST